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Japan throttles Mexico 4-0, Sawa nets hat trick

Japan midfielder Homare Sawa at age 32 became the oldest player in Women’s World Cup history to register a hat trick on Friday, scoring three goals in 83 minutes the help Japan throttle Mexico 4-0.

The hat trick was also the first of the tournament in the 11th game of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. It was the 14th hat trick in Women’s World Cup history.

Sawa opened the scoring in the 13th minute when she headed in a free kick service from Aya Miyama. Sawa’s second goal also came from Miyama’s service in the 39th minute when she sent a glancing header into the net off of Miyama’s corner kick.

The third and final goal for Sawa came in the 80th minute on a beautifully worked team goal from Japan. Yukari Kinga and 18-year-old Mana Iwabuchi combined on the right flank to set up Sawa with ease. After a series of triangle passes, Iwabuchi slotted in the overlapping Kinga, who slotted the ball to Sawa at the penalty spot for the tap-in.

Shinobu Ohno had Japan’s other goal in the 15th minute on a great strike from inside the 18-yard box.

With the win, Japan (2-0-0, 6 pts.) is through to the quarterfinals ahead of Tuesday’s final group match against England. Japan will face either Germany or France in the quarterfinals.

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